Monday, September 18, 2017

Birthday Paintings for the Manila Kids 2016

Everett's 1st birthday painting, Super Grandson and his Jeepney acrylic 12" x 16"

My grandkid birthday paintings are decidedly labours of love. Often I'll invite our daughters to have input regarding the subject matter. When Laura requested a Jeepney for Everett I had absolutely no idea what a Jeepney was. She sent images and I went into heart failure. What a complicated subject. 

I had to give myself the pep talk. The same one I give myself whenever I'm asked to paint something outrageous. In this talk I repeat things like "You can paint anything, you just have to want to paint this." "It's simply another challenge, now go and convince yourself that you want to paint it."

A painting that definitely required the pep talk is here.

A line of Jeepneys (Internet image)

Jeepneys are the most popular means of public transportation in the Philippines. They are known for their crowded bench seating and kitsch decorations. Jeepneys were originally made from U.S. military jeeps left over from WWII.

The sketch 
Day one of adding colour

With little boys and their attraction to super heroes I decided Everett ought to be portrayed as Superman. Originally I thought I wanted the body of the Jeepney to be metallic silver, but paintings like this one morph of their own volition. The vehicle asked to be turquoise. The rural background didn't feel right so I let it become urban. I had fun texturing the wall.

With a rural background 
More colour and the urban background

As is often the case this painting was late, but his sister's painting was almost on time. This is because their birthday and Christmas gifts get lumped together into one shipping box going to Manila (in October to arrive in December). Everett's birthday is September 18th and Amira's is December 9th.

Amira is old enough to have and express her opinions. When I asked her what she'd like for her 5th birthday painting she said "I like owls and bats." That had me heave a massive sigh of relief. With the shipping deadline looming, I rolled straight from the jeepney to the owl. After the intensity of working on the mechanical it was a pleasure to paint the organic and natural form of the owl. It flowed off my brush with ease.

The iridescent fusible fibres add a mystical quality to the full moon background
Oh wait, it needs bats!
Amira's 5th birthday painting is acrylic/mixed media 12" x 12" with the owl painted in oil 

It's not to say that Amira has only had easy paintings. For her 2nd birthday I gifted her with Mermaid Two. For her 3rd birthday I gave her Shoe Dreams. Both of these paintings were incredibly complex and in spite of the time they took, they were decidedly gratifying.

Everett and Amira checking out his Jeepney painting
Amira with her owl

I haven't created a single painting this year, which isn't much of a surprise given the year I've had. All three of our grandchildren have fall/winter birthdays, Avery's is October 16th. I may be even later than usual with their 2017 paintings, but I know everyone will understand. 


Before I sign off ... there is medical good news. On September 6th, at my appointment with orthopaedic surgeon Dr. MacKenzie, he deemed me an urgent case. He will give me a total left hip replacement on October 17th.